Finding a hotel within walking distance from KLCC need not be agonizing on your wallet if you know where to find such hotel. Our recent trip to KL brought us to Le Apple Boutique Hotel's doorstep, which is just across the street from K Avenue mall (opposite KLCC). To get to the hotel, we took LRT and stopped at KLCC LRT Station, and then walked to the hotel.

Le Apple Boutique Hotel KLCC nailed the boutique hotel definition of being a small stylish hotel situated in a fashionable urban location. An independent hotel brand, the hotel opened its door in recent years to guests ranging from business travellers coming to KLCC for meetings to out-of-town guests looking for entertainment and shopping excursions in the heart of KL. There are 78 superior rooms and 144 deluxe rooms fitted with a choice of King, Queen and Twin beds. All rooms have individual-controlled air conditioning, complimentary in-room WiFi, 40" LCD TV, in-room safe, hair-dryer, tea-making facilities and iron with ironing board.

We received warm welcome at the check-in counter situated at the first floor, where the dim lighting and dark yet classy decor offered cool comfort to guests like us who had spent the entire day out in the sun from visiting the zoo earlier. Guests are free to take green apples in a fruit basket placed on the reception counter, perhaps as a tribute to the hotel's name.

The guest check-in floor

To our delight, we were offered complimentary room upgrade as it was our first time checking in at the hotel. How many hotels have offered such privilege before? None, in my experience! Having taken Marketing course before, I knew that this is another level of service to delight a customer above and beyond a customer's expectation, so kudos to the hotel management for coming up with this marketing strategy! 

After checking in, we proceeded to our room to rest before going out in the evening. Again, we were impressed with the size of the room. For the price that we paid and considering its vicinity to world-renowned location, our room is spacious and comes complete with all the amenities that you can think of.

Our Superior room fitted with King bed

View of the entrance
As far as first impression go, the interior of the room gives me mixed feelings. While the room itself offers modern contemporary design with an unusual massive black pillar at one corner, the bathroom looks like it belongs to another era. 

The black pillar drew our attention as we stepped into the room
If there was one thing that I disliked about the hotel room, it would probably be the bathroom as the design was too bare, the lighting too dim and the overall concept doesn't fit the concept of a boutique hotel. 

Probably comes second, is the noise from outside of the hotel as the hotel is not sound-proof. Thankfully, we managed to get a good night's sleep as everyone was tired from our day's activities.

The shower area is spacious but bare of any fancy fittings

Toilet area

The room doesn't come with breakfast package but guests are given a discount coupon if they dined at ROKKO Japanese Grill Restaurant which is located on the ground floor of the hotel.

Overall, I feel the hotel offers a satisfactory stay at a price that is affordable considering its prime location. This is a hotel that I would recommend my friends from East Malaysia to book if they are thinking to stay nearby KLCC.

Verdict: 7/10
On our first night in KL, we booked a hotel right in the heart of Jalan Tunku Abdul Rahman (TAR) as Le Hubby has an appointment nearby. My first hotel of choice was none other than Frenz Hotel KL due to its strategic location (10-minute leisure walk to Masjid Jamek LRT Station and Sogo Shopping Complex) and based on the photos posted on hotel booking websites.

Rated as a three-star hotel, Frenz Hotel offers both convenience and comfort to their guests. At RM86++ per night for their Superior room, the room that we got is cosy and most importantly clean and functional. 

Unlike many budget hotels with outdated decor and furniture, Frenz Hotel is modernly furnished. The room is fitted with wooden flooring that matches the wooden fixtures such as the cupboard and the panel behind the bed, and the bathroom tiles extend towards the ceiling. A queen bed sits in the centre of the room, opposite a 32" flat screen TV that hung on the wall to save the space.

In fact, special attention has been made to maximise the space in the hotel room to fit in all the amenities and make the room appear spacious. For example, the bathroom is separated from the bedroom by glass wall / door with frosted  glass in the middle to keep some privacy for the occupant, which gives an impression of a bigger room.

Bedroom is separated from the bathroom by glass door / wall that makes the room appear more spacious

Thanks to its practical design, the room is able to fit in all amenities that are provided in other full-fledged hotels, such as a mini fridge, tea-making facilities, a safe, iron and ironing board as well as hair dryer.

View of the TV, cabinet, tea-making facilities and mini fridge

The shower area is partitioned from the rest of the bathroom where guest can enjoy hot or cold shower

Modern concept in the bathroom with floor to ceiling tile

The desk when not used can be closed to maximise space

Desk to put on stuffs or to charge devices with an electrical outlet made available here

Space-saving cabinet

The cabinet door also doubles up as a full-view mirror when open.

While checking in was a breeze, checking out was not as smooth as we were made to wait for half an hour to get our RM50 deposit while the staff called Agoda to confirm that our payment has been made before returning the deposit. There was only one counter that handled guest registration, booking payment as well as check out. Surprisingly, they had two computers at the counter and three staff at that time, but only one of them was entertaining all the guests at once. 

Other than this hiccup, our stay at Frenz Hotel was a pleasant although brief stay.

Verdict: 5/10
**This post gave me chills because at the time when I wrote this, I was still child-less, just lost my first pregnancy, and was depressed from the thought that I may not even be able to conceive due to my PCOS. Look at what I have today, syukur ya Allah! Perhaps during my lowest period, He sent me a glimpse of what the future (now current) looks like**

[post written on 16 April 2009]
Today, work finally took a toll on me and I fell sick. I had to stay at home to recuperate, but my mind is still bogged down with all the work matters that still remain unsolved.

Sigh. I hate this feeling.

I hate, hate, hate, hate, hate, hate, hate, hate, hate, hate this feeling. Benci. Noktah.

Bila tutup satu pintu, satu pintu masalah lagi terbuka. Sampai bila kepala hotak saya akan berhenti serabut.

I slept. I dreamed.

Two little girls, wearing cute identical gowns. They grabbed my hand. Said they wanna take photos. There was a bench and a camera. I sat, they sat. My two little girls.

I woke up.

What are dreams to you? Do they tell that of the future, or just projections of your deepest desire?

What are dreams anyway?
Miri has never failed to attract out-of-town visitors from neighbouring towns including neighbouring country, Brunei. One of the main attraction of Miri is its shopping malls that only second to Kuching's shopping malls, particularly Bintang Megamall, Boulevard Shopping Mall and Permaisuri Mall.

It is therefore no surprise to me that Meritz Hotel which is adjacent to Bintang Megamall was in high demand when I booked the hotel room for a weekend shopping excursion in Miri.

Checking in was a breeze and we were in our room in no time at all.

Stepping into the hotel room, we realize quickly that the hotel decor was a far cry from the photos in travel websites. While still offering some level of comfort, the room exudes looks that are passé and dull. Below are photos of the Superior Room that we booked:

Meritz Superior Room

From another angle

The bed

Bathroom that comes with a bathtub

Hotel toiletries

View of the bathtub

The study desk

There isn't much to review about this hotel as the amenities are quite standard. A few things that I observed during our stay there:
  1. The hotel car park is not exclusive to hotel guests, which poses inconvenience if the parking is full.
  2. The hotel room looks slightly rundown - the cabinet in our room looks like it was about to fall apart while the wooden shelf under the sink in the bathroom is badly stained with water marks and swollen due to water dripping down the sink
  3. The breakfast buffet portions need to be increased during weekend as it quickly depleted but took a long time to be replenished each time the item was finished.
I seriously hope the hotel management will do something to restore and refurbish the hotel to maintain it as among the top choices of travellers who seek shopping and entertainment at the shopping mall next door.

Verdict: 5/10
We just got back from KL last Monday and although the trip ended with quite an adrenaline rush of having to sprint to the boarding gate which was far, far away with two kids in tow, I would still say it was the best trip ever.

Why is that so? I am so giddy with glee while thinking of it, and here goes...

WE GOT UPGRADED NOT ONCE, NOT TWICE, BUT THRICE! Yup, you read it right. We got upgraded three times and that is what I say a very lucky trip indeed!

#1 Upgrade: From standard seat to hot seat (and free meal!) at no extra cost
Being a budget-conscious mom, when I decided to bring my kids for a short vacation to KL (as a reward for doing so well in their exams), I booked AirAsia's tickets on promo fare with no frills whatsoever. I figured out if we didn't manage to catch a meal at the airport, then we will buy food on board. As usual, I didn't even pay to have us four seated together, knowing that the kids will get to be seated with one or both of us.

Imagine my surprise that upon checking in, Khadeeja and I were assigned to hot seat numbers which were in the second row on board! To make it even sweeter, the nice elderly lady sitting next to me insisted that I take her pre-ordered meal because she had her dinner before boarding. A hot seat and free meal, guys! 

Off to a lucky start!

#2: Warm Welcome to New Guests in Town
Our luck continued when we checked in to Le Apple Boutique Hotel just opposite Avenue K and next to Corus Hotel. Upon hearing that we were first-time guests, the staff offered to upgrade us to superior room even though we only booked deluxe room, again at no additional cost. 

Le Apple Boutique Hotel KLCC

#3: The ultimate upgrade - the highlight of the trip
I thought that was the end of such luck when we checked out from Le Apple to check in to yet another hotel (yes, we were hotel-hopping throughout the trip!). Boy, was I wrong? We decided to stay at Le Meridien Putrajaya, and booked the standard deluxe room at SPG website to get their best rate.

Although I planned to check in by 8pm (so we could go window shopping at the adjacent mall), we took longer than planned time touring Zoo Negara and later, Bukit Bintang area that we only reached hotel at 10pm.

The reception staff who attended to us told me that the room we requested were already full, but being an SPG member, she informed that she will give us a free upgrade.

Guess what? This time, we were upgraded to a suite! Woohoo! 

Welcome to Le Meridien Suite...

It was certainly the cherry on top of our very lucky trip this time. Imagine, a suite which is double the price that I paid! Phew, it certainly pays off to sign up as SPG member knowing that you could get upgraded at any time when you stay at their hotels.

Look how spacious the bedroom area is

As you can see, we did quite extensive hotel hopping this trip, so stay tuned to my review of the hotels. From budget-less-than-RM150 hotel, to five-star suite, it was certainly a very exciting (and lucky!) trip indeed for us!